BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — When LSU has looked to air it out, the results have been promising.
Evidence is mounting that the 10th-ranked Tigers' young quarterbacks and receivers can provide balance to an offense that was expected to rely heavily on the run.
Now it sounds like Miles is going to keep pushing his top two quarterbacks to expand their repertoire when LSU hosts unbeaten Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night.
Sophomore Anthony Jennings has thrown for 427 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions so far, solidifying his hold on the starting quarterback job ahead of freshman Brandon Harris.
"Anthony has done the things that we would expect him to do," Miles said Monday. "There are things we're going to ask him to do and he needs to do those. That's what his focus is and that's what we want it to be. He's done a great job to this point and he needs to continue to improve."
Harris, meanwhile, played five series in LSU's 56-0 demolition of Sam Houston State last weekend and strung together five confidence-building completions for 62 yards and one touchdown. That performance only seemed to encourage Miles to stick with a two-quarterback system, even if Jennings takes the majority of the snaps.
Jennings, meanwhile, said he doesn't like to view Harris as competition for the job, but rather as a teammate who is trying to help LSU win, just like he is.
"It's up to the coaches to decide when and who is in the game at the time, but I have the utmost confidence in myself and in him to lead the Tigers to victory," Jennings said.
Harris' scoring pass was an 8-yarder to true freshman Malachi Dupre.
Both Dupre and Trey Quinn, another true freshman, caught two passes apiece. The Tigers are hoping that pair will round out a receiving corps currently led by redshirt sophomore Travin Dural, who has six catches for 291 yards and four TDs, and redshirt freshman John Diarse, who has four receptions for 77 yards and a score.
LSU was expected to field a run-heavy offense — at least early this season — because of the inexperience lost in the passing game after the departures for the NFL of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and junior receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Certainly, LSU is handing the ball off more often, rushing on 105 of 144 total plays. But LSU has more total yards and touchdowns through the air (489 yards, six TDs) than on the ground (460 yards, five TDs).
Not that Miles is disappointed. In fact, the running back corps, which features seniors Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, is looking increasingly deep, given contributions made by freshmen Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams.
Fournette ran for 92 yards and one touchdown, and caught two passes for another 32 yards against the Bearkats. Darrel Williams, playing for the first time, had 14 carries for 65 yards and a score.
The early contributions of true freshmen receivers and running backs are main reasons Miles sounds increasingly optimistic about how quickly his youngest players are coming along.
"The growth that is needed to take place there certainly is being done," Miles said. "As soon as you get a young guy on-field game experiences, it drives home the teaching point you have in the practice schedule.
"The youth of our team needs to understand the things they do in practice makes a difference in what they do on Saturdays," Miles added. "This team is improving daily. I have to make sure that continues. If that continues, we may not be only a pretty good team today, but we may be good enough later, too."
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Posted on Tue, September 9, 2014
by Bryan Lazare, Associated Press